The Great Book Sort, Part 6: Disability Representation

January 23, 2023 at 12:44 am (Uncategorized)

Today was exciting. My kindle app has been having issues for a long time; holding blank spots for nonexistent books (that I couldn’t delete); refusing to download certain books that do exist; etc.

I was patient. Until today, when I finished the first book in a rather good series, and couldn’t download the second. Bah!

So I poked through various bits of the app, trying to find a way to fix it. Finally, I did the closest possible thing to, “Have you tried switching it off and on again?”—I logged off. Of course I didn’t have the faintest idea what my password was, or how difficult it would be to reset it. Luckily, it wasn’t difficult at all.

One tiny problem. None of my folders existed any more. Four years of sorting, and all my 700+ books were in one jumbled pile once again. On the up side, I could download the book I wanted to read right now. So I did.

And a few minutes later, all my folders magically reappeared—minus the phantom books that I’ve been trying to delete for a year. I win!

So let’s talk books! There are only 112 left to sort: I’m almost down to double digits.

Chronicles of Egg by Geoff Rodkey

These rollicking adventure tales have lots of piratical injuries—missing limbs, eyes, etc—and one of the key characters has a missing hand as well as neurological issues that make him twitch. As someone with neurological twitches of my own, this is the first time I’ve seen twitching in fiction. Hurrah for variety!

Speaking of things done well, Egg is in love, and not very good at it—but the author is clearly self-aware about the character’s immaturity. Your characters don’t have to understand consent or respect perfectly at the age of thirteen, but you the author need to know when they’re being a creep and/or dumbarse. These books aren’t perfect, but they’re close.

The Arcadia Project by Mishell Baker

These deserve a BIG trigger warning as the viewpoint character attempted suicide before the series begins. It resulted in serious injuries ranging from having significantly less than the usual number of legs to often losing touch with reality.

However, while I almost always end up triggered by any fiction portraying mental illness, this series is like therapy to me. Partly because the main character is trying her best, and improving, and even putting strategies from therapy into practice. And it’s working—sometimes well, sometimes not so well. But she’s smart despite her neurological issues, and she’s alive, and she’s making a difference.

Meanwhile, there’s an excellent fantasy story to be had, which is often horrifically tragic, and sometimes the main character makes awful mistakes. One of the things she knows is that suicide is always a bad plan. Another is that when she’s at her worst, she just needs to keep breathing and a good day will come around again.

The Floating City by, uh, me

This is one of my interactive novels. The viewpoint character’s legs stop just above where her knees would be. Her best friend is Hard of Hearing. I’m really proud of the work I did on this book, even though I know very little about prosthetic limbs or Deaf culture. Yes, I hired sensitivity readers, and of course did research. I chose those disabilities because (a) Prosthetics are cool, and (b) Sign languages are cool. And because I wanted to be a good ally to disabled people, partly through sheer representation and partly by representing a society in which those disabilities are far less difficult to deal with due to the society around them being more adaptive.

It was research for this book that made me realise that I am disabled myself, and that my daughter has ADHD. So it was quite life-changing, and I’m grateful. It’s also a pretty cool climate change fiction story. There’s a shark farm.

Click here. It’s on steam, Googple Play, the App store, Amazon, and your PC.

Oh yeah! The series I’m reading has a couple of minor disabilities too. One of the main characters has periodic bouts of malaria. Another has an eye that gets fatigued, so he sometimes wears a patch.

Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn

This is a delightful story of an irrepressible spinster and lepidopterist gallivanting about in steampunk times. They are excellent (although not for a reader averse to a sex-positive heroine).

My apologies for the poor-quality images this entry. I’m having worse neurological problems than usual (current theory is that it’s due to being very low on iron for a year—it’s very much the focus for my doctors and I at present) and I’m severely lacking in even the rudimentary competence required to divvy up the screenshots into individual pictures rather than sets.

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